Class of 8x

Class of 83

M83

Gordon Kaung (M83)

  • He is a founding member of RIT Alumni International.
  • He is a founding member and Past President of NorCal RITAA.
  • His first business was “Mechanical Solutions”.
  • His current business is iNapa Winery founded with his spouse Lillian Kaung (EC83).
  • They survived the Napa fire in 2017.

The following are excerpts about the Napa fire.

Around 9 p.m. on Sunday (8th October, 2017), several wild fires (which typically happen in some parts of Southern California) started in Northern California. The source for the wild fires is still not known, but the CalFire Chief mentioned that “95% of wild fires are started by man, inadvertently or intentionally”.

To add fuel to fire, there were gusty winds ranging from 40 – 70 mph. The Northern Winds were dry. Water hydrants were scare. Roads were narrow in the mountains, and were cut off by the fires. Raging fires across several counties required volunteers to aid the fire fighters, police and emergency crews. So far, 20+ deaths have been reported with 500+ missing. 3000+ buildings have been razed. The fires have not been totally contained.

They had to make a quick decision to leave their property behind and pray for the best. They were surprised to find out that the Atlas Peak Road (which they use routinely) had been “cut off”. Thanks to a neighbor who knew the emergency route, they evacuated to a hotel in NAPA. Some people could not find hotels and inns to spend the night, and had to find shelters and/or sleep in the cars.

We tried to text Lillian via Viber, and were relieved to know that they were safe in a hotel, but they had no idea when they could go back and check the property. Finally, U Ko Ko Zin (M84), brother-in-law of Gordon, relayed the good news that the property is safe. Gordon confirmed it with the photos.

There were sighs of relief. Congratulatory messages “There’s no place like home”, and “Home, sweet home” poured in.

Some lost their life savings. A few saw their remodeled and upgraded million dollar homes in ashes.

Many prayed for Gordon and Lillian, and their prayers were answered.

“Every thing happens for a reason”. Let’s take a lesson from this grim event, and try to lead a fruitful life.

Categories: Class of 8x

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